By JOHN CORYER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The good news for the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team is that a five-game road stretch is over and the Cardinals close out their regular season with five SUNY Athletic Conference games at Memorial Hall.
The not-so-good news is that four of the five games are against four of the top five teams in the conference, other than Plattsburgh.
“We went 3-2 on the road against the teams we have remaining,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said. “If we can do that at home, and we should be able to, we should be fine.
“We just have to shore up a couple of things. All the games are pretty close.”
The Cardinals (13-7, 9-4) host Brockport (13-8, 8-6) at 8 p.m. tonight and Geneseo (14-7, 10-4) on Saturday.
Cortland currently leads the SUNYAC with an 11-2 record, followed by Geneseo in second at 10-4 and Plattsburgh third at 9-4. Brockport trails Oswego (8-5) and is fifth in the standings with an 8-6 mark.
Earlier this season, Plattsburgh went on the road for a 66-64 loss to Geneseo on Jan. 11 and an 82-81 victory over Brockport the following day.
“No doubt after it, I expect more games like that,” Curle said. “That’s the nature of the conference. Our last few games have come down to the last few minutes.”
The Cardinals have not officially clinched a playoff spot yet and have a three-game lead over seventh-place New Paltz in the standings. Only the top six teams make the playoffs this season.
The Cardinals had some of the wind taken from their sails last weekend.
Plattsburgh defeated Oneonta on Friday but
suffered a tough 75-72 setback at New Paltz on Saturday. Curle was hoping for a two-game sweep over the weekend but had to settle for the Cardinals’ fourth straight 1-1 conference road trip.
A win over the Hawks would have clinched a playoff spot.
“That game is over now,” Curle said. “It’s time to move forward.
“We had a great day of practice on Tuesday and not so good on Wednesday. I told the guys that we don’t have many practices left in the regular season. It’s no time to get tired — the players should be as eager as ever.”
Shamoy McIntosh (11.9) and John Perez (11.7) are the leading point producers for Plattsburgh, while Perez (7.9) leads the team in rebounds and Chris Manning (5.4) in assists.
“We’ll continue to play the same way,” Curle said. “We will use our bench and make sure we do it by match-ups.”
The Golden Eagles have plenty of momentum after a huge 71-70 win at Geneseo last week. Brockport is averaging 79 points a game and surrendering 74. John Ivy is one of the leading scorers in the conference at 20 points a game. The Golden Eagles have four players averaging in double figures.
“Brockport also has a deep bench,” Curle said. “They come at you with eight guards and come at you in your space. They try to make things uncomfortable, and you have to maintain your composure.
“Ivy is the leading scorer in the conference, and he can score in a lot of different ways. He can hit the three, take it to the rim and is very good in transition. And they look for him.”
The Knights, meanwhile, average 74 points a game and allow 67. They have a balanced offensive attack, led by Connor Fedge (13.9) and Gordon Lyons (12.6).
“Geneseo is more of the ball movement team,” Curle said. “So against Brockport, we’re going to see a team that pressures you in transition. The next day, Geneseo will be more of a contain defense, and they won’t turn you over as much.
“But both teams are effective at what they do. We wanted to come off the five games on the road with at least a 3-2 record. We did that, and hopefully we can get refocused on being back at home.”